Students Host Lunar New Year Celebration to Welcome Year of the Dragon
Hotchkiss Lunar New Year dance

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Scroll down to view a recording of the Lunar New Year Community Celebration.

By Darryl Gangloff

The Hotchkiss community welcomed the Year of the Dragon with fun-filled student-led Lunar New Year activities, ranging from All-School performances to karaoke and games in the Student Center.

From its origins as an afternoon dumpling-making session, these School festivities have expanded into a popular multiple-day annual tradition thanks to the dedication of students, parents, faculty, and staff.

Ella Yu ’24, Mike Xu ’24, Madeleine Sada ’26, and Jeffrey Lin ’25 kicked off the celebration with reflections on Lunar New Year during Chapel talks on Tuesday, Feb. 6, and Thursday, Feb. 8.

The next day on Friday, Feb. 9, Walker Auditorium was filled with music, songs, and a wonderful dance performance by students. (Watch a recording below.) Anthony Hu ’25 and Yixi Zou ’25 hosted the community celebration during an All-School Meeting.


“Lunar New Year is celebrated with all kinds of traditional activities: family dinners and special treats, fireworks, and red packets,” Anthony said. “One of the absolute highlights for me is watching a livestreamed four-hour special gala composed of incredible performances by musicians, dancers, comedians, and more. It's actually happening right now. So today we will once again bring this special gala to Hotchkiss—some great singing, dancing, and incredible performances.”

“We sincerely appreciate everyone's contribution to this show, whether on stage or behind the scenes. And thank you all for making this celebration a memorable one,” Yixi said.

The Lunar New Year holiday fell on Saturday, Feb. 10. The community gathered for a meal in Ford Food Court, and Hotchkiss is grateful for the generosity of many Hotchkiss parents and families who contributed delicious food. Students, faculty, staff, parents, and friends then made their way to the Student Center for an evening of activities, games, and snacks organized by Mike Xu '24 and Ophelia Cham '25. Several student clubs, including the Korean Club, Asian Culture Club, Chinese Club, Triple A Club, Pan Asian Club, Japanese Culture Club, MENA, and Taiwan Culture Club hosted booths. Karaoke filled the room with music, and sparklers ended the night. View more photos.

Hotchkiss Lunar New Year Sparklers

Student Reflections

Ophelia Cham '25 and Mike Xu '24 organized the Lunar New Year celebration on Feb. 10.

Ophelia Cham '25

Taking on the role of an organizer for this event was a decision rooted in my connection to the traditions and significance of Lunar New Year within my family. I am from Macau, where Lunar New Year holds immense cultural importance. I have cherished memories of annual celebrations with my extended family. These gatherings involved paying respects to the elderly, exchanging festive phrases, receiving red packets, and lighting up the night sky with colorful fireworks. Since being away from home for school, I have keenly felt the absence of these celebrations, motivating me to recreate the joyous atmosphere at Hotchkiss. Having actively participated in organizing Lunar New Year celebrations since my prep year and currently leading the Chinese Club, I felt a strong sense of responsibility to lead the planning committee for this event. My goal was to infuse the school community with the same energy and joy that I associate with this cultural celebration, marking the start of a new year and symbolizing renewal.

Reflecting on the event, I am delighted with how it turned out. The diverse activities hosted by different clubs allowed students from various cultural backgrounds to come together and celebrate Lunar New Year collectively. Witnessing a significant turnout and active participation was especially heartwarming. Many students not only attended but also volunteered to contribute to the decoration of the Student Center, a crucial aspect of Lunar New Year festivities. It was gratifying to see the genuine enjoyment and engagement of everyone present. The event provided an opportunity to share the essence of Lunar New Year with the broader School community, creating a sense of unity and appreciation for cultural diversity. The positive response and active involvement from students further emphasized the importance of such inclusive celebrations.

Lunar New Year at Hotchkiss not only was a cultural event, it was a shared experience that brought students together in celebration, fostering a sense of community and understanding. I am grateful for the support and enthusiasm displayed by my peers and teachers and am hopeful that this tradition will continue to thrive.

Mike Xu '24

Mr. Pierre Yoo (associate director of diversity, equity, and inclusion, instructor in chemistry, head coach of boys varsity and JV cross country, and Edelman dorm head) had asked me to plan for the event a year prior, as he thought it would be important for there to be student input for a cultural celebration. I was happy to do this because I felt like it would be a fun experience to have the opportunity to host an All-School event that everyone would enjoy. Seeing people enjoy the celebration provides a great sense of satisfaction.

I think the event went really well. In fact, I think it's the best Lunar New Year celebration I've had at Hotchkiss in the last three years. The cultures that hosted a table had really interesting activities to participate in, and it really provided a comprehensive sense of the variety in cultures that celebrate Lunar New Year.

I was very happy to see other students enjoy their time during a celebration that held a lot of significance for me. Students were eager to try new things, and it gave me a great sense of appreciation as one of the organizers of the event.

The celebration only went as well as it did because of the combined contributions of all the students who were in the planning group and the faculty members who supported our ideas.

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